View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Shaman and Nomad Backgrounds (Newly formatted)

2017-08-23, 03:16 AM
I believe that I've posted these here before, but here they are newly formatted!

Shaman Background (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxfCiPA2FPFAaG5VQ1JodzFiZTQ/view?usp=sharing)

Nomad Background (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxfCiPA2FPFAa21jR196MGVMTm8/view?usp=sharing)

As always, feedback is welcome.

2017-08-23, 09:06 AM
Both backgrounds provide an interesting niche that isn't really covered by anything I've seen yet; the fluff and character options are quite well done.

A couple of observations, however:

1. Give the Shaman proficiency in Religion, instead of Medicine (see #3).

2. I don't see what Traditional Spirits does. It seems to be just a fluff decision, but I don't understand what Ancestral, Archetypical, and Astral spirits are--they, unlike all others, are not creature types.

3. The shaman's feature is vague as to what constitutes a 'spirit'. Depending on how this is interpreted, it may be used constantly or not at all. Furthermore, I am uncertain as to what it means by 'force a situation with an entity'. Is this a religion roll? Diplomacy? Against what DC?

Depending on the answers to these questions, the power of the feature vastly changes.

I'd say, as a base, that a 'spirit' is a fey, incorporeal undead, celestial, or fiend for purposes of the ability. When you commune with the spirit, you need not share a language with it, and must succeed on a Religion check against DC of 15+CR of creature. Success means that the creature imparts to you an important bit of it's knowledge, etc.

4. Nomad, as a whole, seems not to have any clarity issues. However, I am skeptical of the 'Craftsman' option, as I dislike its granting of a doubled proficiency bonus from first level. Crafting kits generally aren't so significant as to break the game, but it still seems odd that this background offers better skill than, say, Guild Artisan. If anything, I'd completely delete this option (folding it's fluff into Merchant) and replace a role of 6 with Outlaw (stealth), reflecting a criminal who moves from place to place in an effort to flee the law or a powerful enemy.

2017-08-23, 11:31 PM
Thanks for the comments!

1. Since I received some feedback elsewhere, I've changed the document. You now choose two between Arcana, Nature, Medicine, and Religion.

2. For ancestral spirits, think Mulan. For archetypal, think 'tribal spirit of envy', or 'manifestation of conquest'. For astral, think of any spirit existing beyond the material plane, and which you might go on a vision quest to access. They're not creature types, but they are important 'shaman-y' spirit types, so I feel compelled to include them as options.

3. Also, I've updated the feature to be more clear on what a spirit is (anything in the chart), and to make the wording closer to the Soldier background (I don't want to cause a check, just create an opening).

4. Eh, it seems a shame to me that the Guild Artisan doesn't get this option, and I'm not sorry for offering it for this background. I also think that the outlaw idea is expressed quite well by the Criminal, Outlander, or Folk Hero backgrounds.

Thanks again for the feedback; let me know if my changes to the Shaman help, and if you disagree - I rather enjoy the conversation.